Against grand jury repression

Today SteamPunk Magazine signed on to the following statement:

On Wednesday July 25th, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury, and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.

Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized, pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.

This attack does not occur in a vacuum. Around the country and around the world, people have been rising up and resisting an economic system that puts the endless pursuit of profit ahead of the basic needs of humanity and the Earth. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement to now Anaheim, people are taking to the streets. In each of these cases, the state has responded with brutal political repression. This is not a coincidence. It is a long-term strategy by state agencies to stop legitimate political challenges to a status quo that exploits most of the world’s people.

We, the undersigned, condemn this and all other political repression. While we may have differences in ideology or chose to use different tactics, we understand that we are in a shared struggle to create a just, free, and liberated world, and that we can only do this if we stand together. We will not let scare tactics or smear campaigns divide us, intimidate us, or stop us from organizing and working for a better world.

No more witch-hunts! An injury to one is an injury to all.

For a full list of signers and more background on the issue, see the aptly-named No Political Repression blog.

It’s no secret that SteamPunk Magazine, while not a political project itself, is published by an anarchist collective. In fact, we’re on our third anarchist collective publisher to date, and we’re distributed by a fourth. Nor that steampunk itself has anarchist roots that run deep. But the demonizing of people based on their choice of literature is not the only reason we oppose grand juries. SteamPunk Magazine founder Margaret Killjoy posted about the grand juries on his blog and points out:

A grand jury is a strange creature. If you’re called to testify in front of a grand jury, you have to talk. Your constitutional protections don’t apply. Your right to remain silent doesn’t exist. You become legally required to snitch, to provide whatever information they ask of you, about whomever they ask. If you don’t talk (which, for the record, you should not), the judge can arbitrarily put you in prison for contempt of court. It’s not a criminal charge, so you’ve no right to those wacky things like “a trial.” You just go to prison because some bastard in a suit or a robe or whatever decides s/he doesn’t like that you won’t tattletale. If they put you in prison, it’s usually for six months. And when you get out? They can make you testify again. And if you refuse, right back in you go for another six months. Somewhere, Kafka and Orwell are fighting it out in some afterlife to decide who gets to use that idea for a book.

Suggested courses of action include:

Thursday, August 2. Come to Seattle to stand against the Grand Jury witch hunt! There will be a demonstration in solidarity with those affected by the raids and subpoenas starting at 7:30am and throughout the day. The demonstration will be at the federal court house, 700 Stewart St., in Seattle.

Can’t make it to Seattle? Plan another event or demonstration in solidarity! Please email us at to tell us about your event.

Please donate! There is a “Donate” tab on our website We are trying to raise legal fees for all of those affected. We also are trying to provide material support for those that are resisting the grand jury.

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One Response to “Against grand jury repression”

  1. I’m not exactly sure where you’re getting your information, but it is erroneous. Being called to a Grand Jusy does NOT strip you of your 5th Amendment right against self incrimination, unless that person has been granted immunity from prosecution. The Supreme Court ruled a very long time ago that if there is no threat of prosecution then the 5th Amendment is invalid. And as for jailtime, more often than not it is a mere threat. Sometimes a witness will have to stay over a few days, but that is seldom. I myself was cited for contempt about a dozen times or so (I was a Federal Agent & I refused to blow the cover on a confidential informant). But only once was I ever escorted to the detention area & even then I was home in time for dinner. So it sounds like to me you’re running around yelling that the sky is falling, & those people who are unwilling,for whatever reason, to investigate the truth of the matter are swallowing it hook, line & sinker.

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